Route: Quinnipiac Trail (CT)

Connecticut, US
18.9 mi
Vertical Gain
4,000 ft

Alex McDaniel posted an initial route and FKT.  He wrote:

"The Qunnipiac is about 18 miles of trails and road connectors in Hamden and Cheshire CT.  On Sat. Aug 29th [2015] at 6:12am I started at Rt 68 at the Blue sign, and started running south on the Q. I reached the top of Roaring Brooke Falls in 32:30 and crossed Rt 42 in 50:00. I went over Mt Sanford and reached Gaylord Mt Road in 1:22. I crossed Brooks road in 1:50 and reached the intersection of the Q and Regicides trails in 2:07. I crossed Rt 10 Whittney Ave at 2:42 feeling great but bonked a bit going up the "Wall" in Sleeping Giant. I finished pretty exhausted in 4:07 on the East side of Sleeping Giant which is just Kings HW. Sadly I then had to run 2.5 miles to my pick up. I was toast."

Route Update (1/1/2021), Please Read!  The Quinnipiac Trail was recently rerouted by the CT Forest and Parks association.  The reroute moved the northern terminus from RT 68, cutting off the (often debated but generally accepted) 0.7mi of road as well as a small portion of single track, and adding on a few extra miles up through Kathan Woods Nature Preserve in Prospect CT.  For more info on the reroute and specifics on the changes: The new route is on our map, and a GPX for the old Q is downloadable here as well as the new one.  The new route is ~ 18.9 miles, and is about 1.3 miles longer than the old route.  How to fairly compare times?  Our solution is as follows:  To be considered for an FKT on the new route your time for the section south of CT-68 must be faster than the FKT time for the old route.  The new route south of CT-68 is about 0.3 miles shorter than the old route, so that seems fair.  You MUST keep track of your time for the full route AND the segment south of CT-68 (regardless of which direction you run).  Same for the Double Q!

Thank you to Jamie Ryan for providing the info and GPX for the new route.




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Hi all,

My husband and I did this route yesterday and I have two notes:

1. The CTFPA website ( shows the northern terminus of the Q at the end of Cornwall Rd and no longer includes Chatfield and Cornwall roads in the route. We included them anyway for continuity's sake, but moving forward I'm not sure... why include an extra .75mi of roads at the beginning/end of a trail route? The blue blazes that were on the telephone poles have been painted over (except one that they missed at the end of Cornwall). 

2. There is a small knob of the Q that loops north along Whitney Ave and then back to Mount Caramel Ave. We didn't include it, and just went across Whitney and down Mount Caramel, because that's what previous routes had done. But it is a part of the Q.

I'm pretty new to this FKT business so I'm not sure how trail reroutings that affect the overall distance of the trail are generally handled, just though I'd bring it up.

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Some comments from my blog post. Full post here:… 

The Quinnipiac Trail is the oldest in the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System. It measures just over 18 miles with about 4,300 feet of elevation gain on the point-to-point route between Prospect and Hamden. The trail is "New England" rugged, which means lots of rocks and roots on extremely undulating terrain. The traprock ridges that it traverses are steep. When headed north to south(east), the trail passes through Naugatuck State Forest, Cheshire Land Trust land, West Rock Ridge State Park, and Sleeping Giant State Park. We ran it north to south, as many others before us have. We included the initial 0.8 mile road section between Route 68 and the trailhead parking at the end of Cornwall Avenue. The trail marker remains at the junction of 68 and Chatfield Road, it's the traditional start/end of the trail, and despite what is currently posted on the CFPA website, this route was initially established with it.

Debbie and I also included the short section of trail that enters Sleeping Giant State Park at the corner of Route 10 (Whitney Avenue) and Mount Carmel Avenue. It goes past the bus stop, turns into the woods, and does a little arc before coming out on Mount Carmel. It is blazed and is part of the trail, but upon further review, it looks like the official FKT route first established on this site doesn’t include it. We didn't notice that until after our run. It is 0.25 miles and added about 2.5 minutes to our time, but we included it in our route. 

The Quinnipiac Trail is spectacular. Debbie has been running and training on it since the late-1990's. She grew up a mile from the start of the trail in Prospect and her parents, whose Prospect roots run deep, still live there. She has run it many times but had actually never gone end-to-end because she had never been past the summit of Mt. Carmel (on the Quinnipiac) in Sleeping Giant State Park, until yesterday. We only saw five people in the first 13 miles, but the last 5 in Sleeping Giant were crowded as it was a busy Memorial Day Weekend during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had a glorious scramble up the "forehead" to the Stone Tower.

The last 3+ miles after the tower were as tough as anything on the trail and ended with the spectacular downhill to Old Hartford Turnpike. We started at 7:30 A.M. and pushed it from the start, but still had the energy left to hammer the final section of trail. We had left our bicycles locked to a tree 50 yards up from the southeastern terminus, so as soon as we caught our breath, we rode back to her parents' house in Prospect (via the Farmington Canal State Park Trail, North Brooksvale Road, Mountain Road, and Cheshire Road (Route 68). With the run/bike combo, it made for a nice loop. She is interested in trying a future "Double Q" going out and back, but I'm not so sure my legs could handle that. I preferred riding back.

Nice work by the other runners/hikers who have tackled this one. The Quinnipiac is a worthy challenge.